Game Previews/ Recaps

Knicks Come Out Flat in 92-78 Loss to Golden State

I was at Oracle Arena in Oakland to witness the Knicks ineptitude tonight. I then went home and re-watched the game on TV. I have to say that the Knicks looked awful on TV and worse in person. In a horrible loss, the Knicks laid down against the Golden State Warriors losing 92-78.

Toney Douglas had maybe his worst game as a Knick. He was 0-5 from deep, 3-11 overall with 6 points and 2 assists. Douglas was unable to create rhythm in the Knicks offense. As a result, the offense tonight was stagnant and in-effective. In maybe his worst game as a Knick, Carmelo Anthony shot only 3-13 for 13 points. It wasn’t only that Melo was missing shots but he was missing badly. Amar’e Stoudemire was 5-14 with 16 points and 4 turnovers. Tyson Chandler was in foul trouble all night resulting in him scoring a whole 2 points and a nabbing a grand total of 3 rebounds. Oh and the Knicks had 0 blocks tonight.

A few more notes from the game:

  • Douglas is driving me insane. I can’t defend this shit anymore. He is so unable to run this offense and has absolutely no court vision. He had multiple fast breaks in which he either passed late or did not pass at all. He cannot run this offense, he seemingly has no idea what he is doing, he delivers no assists (well sorry, 2 assists tonight in 28 minutes) and he didn’t even shoot the ball well tonight. Tonight, he was a detriment to this team and that cannot continue to happen.
  • Walker was actually decent. His defense still sucked but at least he provided scoring off the bench
  • Stoudemire’s offensive game is becoming too isolation/perimeter oriented. His money is made with his unstoppable force in the paint but he seems to be in love with deep mid-range jump shots.
  • On the bright side, Stoudemire did have 10 rebounds tonight and looked much more engaged on the defensive end of the floor.
  • Fields played a great first half. He also played a terrible second half…
  • Balkman had another dunk
  • The Knicks actually really missed Jeffries tonight. In his absence, Stoudemire was forced to not only play the center position but also was forced to log 38 minutes. Jeffries gives the Knicks the ability to mix and match with both Chandler and Stoudemire. With Jeffries out, D’Antoni was forced (or he could have played more Jerome Jordan who looked pretty decent tonight) to play Stoudemire at the 5 in Chandler’s absence and then play Melo or Balkman (both undersized) at the 4 when Chandler was in and STAT was out.
  • Jorts looked like a deer in the headlights for the second straight game and air-balled a 3
  • The Knicks had 1 successful pick and roll all night. Right now, they simply cannot run it with any success
  • Knicks were out rebounded 47-31. Kwame Brown had 10 boards for the Warriors…
  • Bibby played and delivered some nice passes. Exactly what a BACKUP point guard is supposed to do. Unfortunately that far exceeds what our current starting point guard has been doing…
  • Novak hit a 3 tonight….in 14 minutes. 14 minutes with 1 shot attempt. Novak can’t do anything else… why is he in the game for 14 minutes if you’re gonna get him one 3 point attempt?
  • D’Antoni must do a better job getting this offense to at least move the ball. Tonight they did not pass the ball well at all. There are no pick and rolls, no give and go’s. The offense was just very stagnant tonight. I half attribute that to having no point guard, and I half attribute that to D’Antoni. He has to know what he’s got on this club, I mean he sees them every day. Put in some new plays and get some flow to the offense. Tonight there were just way too many possessions killed by forced isolation jumpers by STAT and Melo.
  • Some bald Warriors fan with weird classes sitting in front of me annoyed me the whole game.
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Knicks-Warriors: What to Watch For?

  • How Will Toney Douglas Fare in Game 2? He was incredibly frustrating in game 1 against Boston, taking 19 shots and failing to distribute the basketball efficiently. Tonight is a game, with Steph Curry probably out, that Douglas should do well in. This game could potentially be a track meet and Douglas should be able to prosper in that type of game. It will be interesting to see what happens tonight.
  • How Will Amar’e be Used Tonight? Lets face it. David Lee is a nice player but his defense may be worse than Stoudemire’s. STAT should see plenty of touches tonight. He dominated last season against the Warriors and I expect him to be dominant tonight. The Knicks did not run pick and roll with STAT in game 1 and thats something I want to see tonight. I know Douglas is sub-par as a point but I’ve seen him run pick and roll efficiently. Amar’e should get about 15-20 shot attempts tonight against a smaller, less-athletic David Lee.
  • How Will the Knicks Defend Tonight? The Knicks need to continue to improve defensively as the season goes on. With the exception of the 3rd quarter, the Knicks were good defensively versus the Celtics on Christmas. The Warriors can score the basketball. Even if Curry does not play, they still have Dorrell Wright, David Lee and Monta Ellis. It will be interesting to see how the Knicks perimeter defense does tonight. As Jared Dubin of Outside the Arc has pointed out, the Knicks perimeter defense is the true weakness of this defense. With Chandler down low, the interior defense is gonna be solid but the Knicks tonight need to close out on shooters and D up people on the wings.
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Notes From Knicks-Celtics Game

Sorry for the lack of posts, I have been having computer issues but they are all now resolved. Since it is obviously far too late to write a game recap, I decided to share some notes I took from watching the game a second time last night.

  • Douglas makes me pull my hair out. I love him and I think he’s a good solid shooting guard coming off the bench but he just does not know how to run the point. When the defense bears down on him he panics which is something you cannot do as a point guard. Multiple times, the play broke down and he panicked and shot the ball. He had 19 shot attempts to lead the team. On a team with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, Toney Douglas cannot shoot the ball 19 times.
  • Bill Walker sucks. I have said it a million times and game 1 showcased why. He got an offensive foul pushing off a guy on a dunk, which seems to be his forte even though nobody else in the league ever gets called for it. He had 4 fouls in 15 minutes and his defense sucks. He basically picked Chandler off of Garnett on the final play and gave Garnett a pretty good look at the basket. He did not hit a 3, or score any points for that matter, and when he doesn’t hit 3′s he is useless.
  • I do not understand where the criticism of Fields is coming from. I thought he played his role very nicely. He was efficient offensively and played solid defense. His 2 rebounds were a product of having to chase Allen around the perimeter thus taking him away from the paint when the ball was shot. He hit a 3 early in the game and had another possession where he scored off the dribble. With the scorers we have, you don’t want Fields shooting more than 7-9 times a game. He took 7 shots and hit 3. That is pretty solid and I thought he played his role well. Overall, I thought Fields played a solid game.
  • Stoudmire must be careful with the 3 ball. I loved him hitting those as much as anyone did but he must be careful. His dominant reputation does not come from shooing 3′s or floating around the perimeter. I understand that with Chandler now playing center, Stoudemire does not have the freedom to roam as much on offense. That being said, Stoudemire must continue to look to get inside shots. That is where he is truly unstoppable. It would not benefit him or the Knicks for him to be 3-happy because then he is just an overpaid stretch 4. We need his inside dominance. And getting a rebound once in a while wouldn’t hurt either…
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Knicks-Celtics: What to Watch For


Will Melo Dominate?

  • With Paul Pierce out and Sasha Pavlovic starting in his place, Melo should have a field day. A 40 point, 12 rebound performance would go along way to securing an opening day win for the Knicks.

Can Toney Douglas/Iman Shumpert slow down Rajon Rondo?

  • Toney Douglas got absolutely destroyed by Rondo in the playoffs last year. This is a new season but the results may be largely the same if Rondo goes off again. The combination of Douglas and Shumpert (Bibby is hurt) must slow down Rondo on the fast break and not allow him to score. If Rondo is contained, I believe the Knicks win.

Who Makes the Big Impact Off the Bench?

  • Shumpert is probably the obvious choice but do not be shocked if Jorts turns some more heads today. I think he’ll get some decent minutes today and I think he will do very well. During the off-season, he spoke about becoming a Charles Oakley-esq enforcer and what better way to do that than against Kevin Garnett. Also look for Balkman to get some minutes to see what he can do.

Merry Christmas everyone and go Knicks!

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Knicks Defeat New Jersey 88-82

The Knicks finished off a 2 game pre-season sweep of the New Jersey Nets tonight with a 88-82 victory. The Big 3 of Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire led the way tonight. Melo had 21, Amar’e had 15 and Chandler had 12 rebounds. A few notes from tonights game:

  • Douglas once again struggled to run the point. He was better tonight than in game 1 but still had a few turnovers and failed to hit open guys on passes. He did run a few decent pick and rolls with Chandler but he is looking more and more like a 2 guard every game. It is not necessarily that he is playing poorly. He is what he is and right now, he is a 2 guard.
  • Tyson Chandler’s energy tonight was awesome. He brought down 12 boards, adjusted numerous shots in the paint and blocked 2 shots. There were 2 things that really stood out to me tonight: Chandler’s communication on defense and his energy while on the bench. During the game there were numerous camera shots of Chandler barking at fellow teammates on the defensive end of the floor. He was directing traffic and getting guys in good spots. Communication is absolutely key to playing good team defense and Chandler is helping bring that communication. In the 4th quarter, Chandler did not log any minutes. However, he was off the bench for most of it cheering on his 3rd team teammates and helping to bring energy to Madison Square Garden. That was really impressive to see that even when Chandler is on the bench he is bringing energy to the team. He was extremely impressive in many facets tonight.
  • JORTS! Harrellson looks more and more like a rotation player the more we see him. He stroked two more 3 pointers tonight and made numerous hustle plays. He was impressive and is showing why Knick fans universally love him. Right now, he looks like a deserving member of Mike D’Antoni’s early season rotation.
  • Iman Shumpert did not impress while Landry Fields did. This is why I said Knick fans should give Fields more than one pre-season game and ditto with Shumpert. One game does not prove anything. Two games do not prove anything. Both players will need to play about 10-20 games before anything can be seriously evaluated in terms of benching one or the other.
  • Jerome Jordan did not play tonight and will probably start the year as one of the two inactive players on D’Antoni’s bench unless Bill Walker cannot go. Walker sat out tonights game with his groin injury. Jared Jeffries missed tonights game with a sore calf but he is expected to go Sunday against the Celtics. Mike Bibby left the game tonight at halftime with back spasms but he said he was fine after the game.
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Knicks-Nets Part 2. What to Watch For

  • Toney Douglas’ progression as a point guard.
    • Douglas, as he did in the playoffs last season, did not look comfortable running the point in Saturday’s pre-season game vs the New Jersey Nets. In game 2, it will be interesting to see if Douglas shows progression moving the ball efficiently and getting the Knicks into their sets.
  • Will Landry Fields show improvements?
    • Fields struggled mightily in game 1, continuing his free-fall from grace with Knick fans. Fields has not been the same player since the Carmelo Anthony trade and has admitted to hitting the “rookie wall” last season. In this compressed 66 game season, Fields will need to play extended minutes this year and needs to find the stride he had in the first half of last season. Tonight should be interesting to see whether or not he looks more comfortable in the offense. In game 1, he looked to me like he was pressing too much and trying to make more plays off the dribble. That is not his game. He is a spot up shooter with the ability to create his own shot but he is no Carmelo Anthony. Fields needs to find his rhythm or he may end up finding himself on the bench a lot this year.
  • Tyson Chandler’s integration into the offense
    • In game 1, Chandler only registered 4 points but it was nice to see them run some nice pick and rolls with him. There were a few times in the game where Chandler was open down low and they didn’t get the ball to him. I think Chandler can be a 10-14 point per game guy with the Knicks. Amar’e and Melo should be such a distraction to the defense that I think Chandler can definitely get his on the offensive end of the floor. I’ll be interested to see tonight if they run more pick and rolls to him. I know the Knicks won’t show their offense tonight but if they are gonna run this pick and roll with him they need to at least see it once or twice in real game action.
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Shumpert, Balkman Shine as Knicks Beat New Jersey 92-83

It was an interesting pre-season start for the Knicks as they beat the Nets at the Prudential Center 92-83. Of all players, Renaldo Balkman led the team in scoring with a game high 20 points. Melo added 17 and rookie Iman Shumpert had 16. Shumpert and Balkman had twitter buzzing as they both impressed with their energy and effort. Balkman obviously needs to have 10 more games like this before today’s performance can be taken seriously moving forward but Shumpert raised a lot of eyes today. The already maligned Toney Douglas again struggled to run the point today. He did nothing to silence his critics, including myself, that see Douglas more as a shooting guard then a starting point guard.

Other points from the game:

  • Melo, Amar’e and Douglas all looked to be healthy today. All three players showed signs of rust but none of it looked health related.
  • Jared Jeffries was actually impressive today. I do like what Jeffries brings to this team and today he showed why. He took 3 charges and initiated a couple traps on defense. For a vet minimum, he is a nice fit on this team. He can guard all 5 positions on defense and can make game changing plays, like charges, on defense.
  • Josh “Jorts” Harrellson, already a fan favorite, did a lot today to justify his fanfare. He stroked a three early and played hard defense throughout the game. I originally liked him when we drafted him and he did not disappoint today.
  • Landry Fields struggled mightily on the offensive end of the floor. He looked to me that he was pressing today. It is way to early to give up on him or relegate him to the bench because he still brings solid defense and athleticism to the floor. I liked the way he was aggressive today and I ultimately think he will be okay.
  • Overall, I thought the ball movement on offense and defensive energy today were fantastic. Last year the problem with the offense was how stagnant it became after the trade. I thought the ball moved nicely throughout the game. Melo, Douglas and Stoudemire all delivered some nice passes today. I think with more time under D’Antoni, this offense will start churning out 100 point performances regularly. Defensively the energy was great today. There were times when the defense struggled and the Nets shot 48% from the floor but the energy was good. The Knicks won the turnover battle 25-14 which is a testament to how energetic they were on both ends.
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Knicks-Nets: What to Watch For

  • The health of Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Toney Douglas.
    • All three guys played with injures throughout the playoffs last season and their health is key to the Knicks success this year. Stoudemire, marred by injuries throughout his career, is said to have strengthened his injured back during the off-season. Anthony had knee and elbow procedures done during the off-season. He also hyperextended his knee earlier this week but is said to be fine. Douglas had shoulder surgery in May and is thought to be completely healthy.
  • The point guards
    • Toney Douglas, Mike Bibby and rookie Iman Shumpert are the point guards currently on the Knicks roster. Douglas has experience running the point but often plays erratically and plays out of control at times. During the playoffs, after Chauncey Billups’ injury, Douglas struggled to run the point effectively as the Knicks were swept 4-0 by Boston. Mike Bibby is 105 years old. He was god awful for the Heat last year. He could not play defense, shoot effectively or run with opposing point guards. However, with a new supporting cast and an offensive system known to get the best out of players, Bibby may end up bringing some vet leadership to this Knicks team. I believe he can still shoot and run the point somewhat effectively. Bibby won’t show up on ESPN like Chris Paul lobbing dimes to Amar’e and Melo but I think Bibby can give this team 10-15 effective minutes a night. Rookie Iman Shumpert is an athletic marvel. He is 6’5, fast and he can jump out of the building. He has all the tools to be an elite point guard. The question for him is going to be how quickly he can adopt D’Antoni’s offensive system. I think he has a good shot to start by midseason if he plays well. However, knowing D’Antoni, if Shumpert struggles early he may be exiled to the Roger Mason section of the bench.
  • Who steps up off the bench?
    • Right now, the bench looks like this:

PG: Mike Bibby, Iman Shumpert

SG: Shumpert, Bill Walker (sigh)

SF: Walker, Renaldo Balkman (double sigh)

PF: Jared Jeffries

C: Jerome Jordan, Josh Harrellson

Guard Devin Green and center Chris Hunter are training camp bodies and I would be surprised to see either player get more than a few minutes today.

    • Unfortunately, with the 66 game compressed season, the Knicks will be very reliant on their bench this year. I say unfortunately because right now this bench is in flux. There is no clear 6th man. There is no proven bench scorer who is good for 8-10 points per game. Jerome Jordan and Josh Harrellson are both promising young players but both seem to be works in progress at this point. Shumpert has the potential to be a difference maker off the bench but has yet to prove anything. Until these young players show their worth, this bench will be under a microscope all year. Obviously Knick fans cannot stand Jeffries. I actually like what he brings on defense, effort and versatility, but he is an unbelievable hinderance on the offensive end of the floor. Balkman is just anemic. There is very little he does well. He will put in effort defensively but he also brings nothing offensively. Balkman is a bonafide scrub. ¬†Obviously I am not a big Bill Walker fan. He can’t dribble or defend with any effectiveness. ¬†I will say he is a good 3 point shooter and he is athletic but if he is going to be relied upon off the bench this year we need more than that. We need him to defend well, especially if he is the backup 3, and we need solid all around production out of Walker’s game. I just do not believe he is capable. It will be interesting to see if any bench players leave their mark against the Nets because right now this bench looks very weak.[twitter-follow screen_name='tarmosino' show_screen_name='no']